Last updated: 02/13/2020

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For a cat, the litter box is a sacred space. But those who have feline friends at home also know that it can be an unfortunate source of smells. That’s why it’s so important to pick a litter box that works well for both the cat and its owner. There are a great variety of litter boxes available on the market, so knowing more about the options is key to making the right decision.

Cats are known to be independent at times and loving at others. Recently, there has been an increase in the development of products tailored to these special animals and their preferences. Your cat deserves the best, and, luckily, there are some really great options out there.

Key Facts

  • Covered litter boxes are among the most popular these days, considering the smell that can emanate from a litter box after each use.
  • Be sure to take into account your cat’s personality and needs while also considering your own preferences.
  • If you don’t end up with a self-cleaning model, you will need to keep the litter box squeaky clean. Cats are very neat animals and won’t go near a dirty box.

Our Selection of the Best Cat Litter Boxes on the U.S. Market

A litter box may not be the most attractive item in your home, but they are certainly essential for your cat. The good news is that you’ll find litter boxes in a great variety of prices and styles. There are simple trays or complex boxes that prevent the smell from escaping. Here’s our selection of the very best products available right now:

The Best Design Cat Litter Box

If you’re dreading putting an ugly, smelly litter box in your beautiful home, don’t worry! Good Pet Stuff has the perfect solution for you. This large-capacity box looks just like a clay pot holding an elegant green plant. No one will know you have a litter box in the room.

Other perks of this litter box, an Amazon’s Choice, is that it’s made of durable polypropylene and comes with a filtered vented system that will control dust and unwanted smells. It’s designed for larger cats or households with multiple feline friends. This box also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

The Best Classic Cat Litter Box

Here’s a more classic option at an affordable price. This litter box from Catit, which is also an Amazon’s Choice product, features a large hood that will give your cat the privacy they seek, keep litter inside and open easily for you to clean on a regular basis. A replaceable carbon filter also functions to remove odors.

The Catit litter box is great for bigger cats, giving them plenty of space to get things done in peace and quiet. It also comes with a free sample of Magic Blue Litter Box Filters.

The Best High-Sided Cat Litter Box

This litter box from Nature’s Miracle is one of the more basic options on our list, and it’s very affordable too. If your cat is easy going and doesn’t make a big fuss about its tray, this may be just the right item for you.

High sides help to keep litter inside the box, and the non-stick surface is easy to wipe clean. Nature’s Miracle has been the pet stain & odor brand to trust for more than 35 years, so you know this product is a reliable choice.

The Best Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

If you want to invest in a solid product that will make your life a lot easier, here it is. This amazing litter box from PetSafe will give you weeks of fresh, clean litter automatically. No need to clean it out every time the cat needs to go.

This box features crystal litter that absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste to provide unbeatable odor control. It also uses low-tracking crystals that are 99% dust free and won’t stick to your cats paws when they exit the box. There’s more: each disposable tray has a plastic lining to prevent leaks and keep your floors clean. Just remove the tray and throw it away when necessary.

The Best Cat Litter Box in Triangle Shape

Last but not least, this simple box offers a unique triangle shape that will fit perfectly into a corner of your home. This box is made of durable material that guards against odors and prevents their absorption.

The non-stick surface also prevents litter from caking and makes cleaning a breeze. And 10-inch walls keep litter contained inside the box. You’ll have a happy cat, and a clean home too!

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Cat Litter Boxes

Once you become familiar with a cat’s character, they can become one of the most beautiful companions of all. Still, because cats don’t go out to do their business like dogs do, a litter box is a necessary item for your cat (and you!) to feel comfortable in the home. In this section, we’ll take a look at a handful of the most common questions that new cat owners have about litter boxes.

Woman resting with kitten

Cats are known for being independent but also affectionate and playful.
(Source: Alena Ozerova: 46423368/ 123rf.com)

Does a cat need its own litter box?

One of the most unusual aspects of a cat’s personality is that they are very clean animals. Normally, you don’t need to wash your cat, since it will clean itself as needed.

Litter boxes are especially important for cats because they love to be so clean. And having this designated space allows you to easily collect and dispose of their stool. It’s very rare for a cat to do its business anywhere but the litter box.

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Always keep your litter box clean so that your cat is comfortable using it.

How often do I need to change the litter?

You should get rid of any solid excrement on a daily basis, but how often you should change the litter itself will depend on the type that you use. Once a week should be enough if you have absorbent or non-clumping sand. But if you notice a smell before your weekly cleaning, you should change the litter regardless.

Certain litters, known as clumping litter, can be used for up to a month. Nonetheless, we suggest that you to always collect excrement and any wet spots, while also adding some clean litter to make up for what you removed. Plant-based litters need to be changed more often than others: usually every three days or, at most, five.

Charles DickensEnglish Writer and Novelist

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

Is replacing the litter the only hygienic measure to follow?

The short answer is: no. Each time you replace the litter, it’s a good idea to wash the whole box and use a disinfectant that won’t be harmful to your cat. Try putting a thin layer of baking soda underneath the litter, to help collect bad smells.

You may want to use gloves while cleaning the litter box or, if you prefer not to, just be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Don’t forget to take out the wettest spots each day; this is important for the welfare and happiness of your pet.

Adorable grey cat near litter box indoors. Pet care

Indoor cats need a litter box for their hygiene.
(Source: Belchonock: 107226522/ 123rf.com)

How do I prepare the litter box for my new cat?

Did you just bring home a new kitten or cat? We suggest placing a litter box in a calm corner or well ventilated area of the home. Don’t forget that it has a tendency to smell. The box should also be located in a room that’s always accessible, since cats like to be able to go whenever nature calls. And for hygiene’s sake, keep the box away from the cat food.

The quantity of litter in the box is also important to take into account. It is advised to almost completely fill the box so that your cat can easily bury its feces, which is something that cats love to do. Cats are very intuitive and should learn by themselves how to properly use the litter box. If they don’t get it right away, you can stir some clean litter in front of your cat so they’ll get an idea of where to go when the time comes.

How can I prevent bad smells?

As we mentioned earlier, a thin layer of baking soda can help reduce the strong smell of cat’s urine. Using a covered litter box is another solid option, as long as your cat isn’t put off by it. There are also some filters that will keep the bad odor inside the box. Finally, scented litter exists, but some cats don’t like the smell.

All in all, maintaining very good hygiene is crucial for you and your pet. If you need to go away for a few days, be sure that someone is cleaning out the box on a regular basis. There are some self-cleaning litter boxes out there, but they’re very expensive.

What if my cat won’t use the litter box?

If your cat is very small, be sure it can actually climb into the box. If the litter box is definitely the right size, you should place your cat in the box if you find it doing its business somewhere else in the house. Cats are very smart, and this should help them to understand where they need to go.

Older cats who begin to urinate or defecate outside of their litter box may be experiencing one of two common issues: they may be suffering from a health condition that prevents them from controlling themselves, or they just don’t like the box anymore. That might be because it isn’t sufficiently clean, or maybe the location isn’t suitable, or they’re not pleased with the texture or smell of the litter you’re using.

Little cat inside a litter box

Keep in mind that not all cats are comfortable using covered litter boxes.
(Source: Thorsten Nilson: 106914199/ 123rf.com)

Why does my cat mark the house with urine?

It’s possible that your cat is peeing outside of its box not because of health reasons or issues with the box itself but because it wants to mark its territory. Even though this is rare, all cats—male or female, sterilized or not—can do this. Sometimes they will mark a bed or clothes, which can be a big issue.

This phenomenon is more common when a cat is having difficulty getting used to something new: a new house, a new family member or maybe a new pet in the house. If your cat is urinating outside the box, we suggest taking it to the vet to figure out what’s going on.

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The truth is that your house belongs to your cat; you just pay the mortgage.

What precautions should I take with a litter box?

If there is a pregnant woman living or visiting the house, they should definitely stay away from the litter box. This is due to the risk of contracting a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, which is passed on via cat feces.

Dogs are known to sometimes eat cats’ excrements, so look for a covered litter box if you also have a dog at home.

For your cat’s comfort and safety, the litter box should be kept far from its food. And for your own comfort, keep the box out of the kitchen—the smells may not be so appetizing during meals. Additionally, it’s recommended to leave your cat alone when it’s doing its business, and to alter the location of the litter box once each year.

What should I do during vacations?

Cats don’t like to change their environment, and taking them along on trips can be a real headache. That’s why the best option is to have a friend come by to clean the litter box and feed your cat.

If you really want to bring your cat on vacation, it’s certainly possible, but the burden will largely depend on your cat’s personality. If you do decide to bring your cat, but don’t want to transport the litter box with you, you’re in luck: there are travel-specific models available. You’ll find foldable boxes made from waterproof material or cardboard boxes that can be used for a few days and then disposed of.

Man in knitted sweater holding ginger cat.

Be sure to keep the litter box away from your cat’s food for hygiene reasons.
(Source: Konstantin Aksenov: 49129324/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

In the end, picking the perfect litter box means meeting not only your needs, but also those of your fluffy friend. Cats are creatures of habits and you should respect their preferences. This next section will provide you with all the information needed to get the best quality and value from your new litter box.

Style: Covered or Open?

Covered litter boxes are more common because they help with the smell, but open litter boxes are cheaper. Some cats are also more comfortable with open boxes, since they like to have a view of everything going on around them. This is, of course, more difficult when inside a covered box.

Nonetheless the cover can give a feeling of security and calm, so some cats may prefer this option. Generally, the model that’s best for your cat will depend on its unique personality. One other good thing about covered litter boxes is that the litter will stay inside.

cat looking something

If your cat isn’t going where it should, follow our advice above.
(Source: Maria Itina: 50797251/ 123rf.com)

Sizes

A litter box should be big enough to fit your cat, or even bigger if you have multiple cats. Cats have a tendency to try to intimidate one another, so they may do their business at the same time. In some cases, one box may be fine for multiple cats, although certain experts say that each cat should have its own litter box.

Cats love to dig! They also tend to twirl around while doing so, which is another reason to get a bigger box. That said, the bigger the box, the more space you’ll need for it!

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We recommend that you focus most on your cat’s size when buying a litter box, especially if you’re looking for a covered model.

Shapes and Colors

Most litter boxes are rectangular, but other options still exist. In some cases, triangular boxes may fit better in certain parts of the home, and your cat might even prefer it. Circular litter boxes also tend to have a nicer look.

These days, you can even find some litter boxes that are made to look like other household items, like a flowerpot, for example. Regarding color, your cat probably doesn’t have a preference, so it’s up to you which one you like best.

Additional Options

There are a range of other products that can be used along with a litter box. Most are related to maintaining the cleanliness of the tray and the surrounding area. See the table below for more information.

Accessory How it’s used
Scoop Used to collect feces. This should be done after each deposition. It can also help with the full cleaning of the litter box.
Mat This can be placed under the tray to prevent it from moving around too much. Or, if you put it near the litter box, your cat can clean its paws after going inside.
Deodorizer It will neutralize the odors coming from the tray, and can help make it last longer.
Hygienic bags These are made to be placed inside the litter box. Durable models help prevent urine accumulation and block bad smells. They also make cleaning much faster and easier.
Rack This can be placed inside the litter box, and all you need to do is lift it to collect both feces and any clumps of urine. Simply throw the clumps away and replace the rack.

Summary

Although litter boxes don’t always look great, your cat definitely needs one. Always consider your cat’s  personality when picking a specific box, and also keep in mind your home decor and your own comfort, since the smell of the box can be annoying.

Luckily, there are many great options on the market. Cats are very affectionate companions, and we want the best for them, as well as for us. Colors, shapes, sizes and designs: there is something for every cat and every owner.

If you found this article helpful, please share it on your social media. You can also leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Axel Bueckert: 116295543/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Hazel Evans Zoologist
Hazel saw a lot of animals while traveling in Australia after high school. In fact, they fascinated her so much that she started to study zoology as soon as she began college. Birds are her favorite animals but, she loves all animals.